June 20, 2014

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Journal of Jerks by Andrew Neal

Written and Illustrated by Andrew Neal
Self-Published

A collection of monsters that you wouldn't want to meet in a blind alley--or in your bedroom--gather together under the clever pen and witty descriptions of mini-comics creator Andrew Neal.

Part of the Alphabeasts Tumblr that ran a few years ago, Neal put his drawings together in a small mini-comic for folks like me who absolutely love themed art books like this one, whether they're fancy (like the tribute to Stan Sakai that Baltimore Comic-Con did in 2013) or something you'd find at a zine fest (such as one Anne Thalheimer did several years ago about her Halloween costumes).

This one is particularly clever in my opinion because instead of just providing the drawings, which would have been cool enough, Neal also gives a little bit of text for each entry.

That, too, would have been a lot of fun. But then Neal doubles down, mixing up the entries from fake personal ads to noir text to a helpful guide to determining if you're encountering a monster or a cuddly corporate mascot.

The added touch really makes this one stand out, as does the changes in art style, depending on the creature involved. Some are loosely sketched, others have thick, Bryan Lee O'Malley-like ink lines. None are extremely detailed, but they're all creepy, and some of his selections are extremely obscure, which is saying something, given I'm pretty well up on my monsters.

I'm not sure you'll find this one anywhere, but if you do, definitely grab a copy and get a handy field guide to those things that go bump in the night. Especially if you're the type who falls for bad women with goat legs. Generally speaking, that never works out too well.

Andrew Neal's website is here.